Japan has two types of Zero Fighters.
The Mitsubishi Zero, used in land-based operations by both the Army and
Navy Air Forces, has a wing spread of 37 feet, and is short and stubby in appearance.
The Mitsubishi-Nagoya Zero (see this publication No. 5, p. 1 for detailed
description) has a longer and thinner tapered wing, 40 feet in length, hinged
24 inches from the tips, which fold up for stowage purposes when carrier-based. It
may also be equipped with a single float for operation as a float plane.
Although basically the same type of aircraft, the performances of these
two Zeros differ particularly in the matter of speed. Both are low-wing monoplanes
with retractable landing gear and powered by twin-row 14-cylinder radial,
air-cooled engines. Both have a normal range of about 500 miles, but with the
use of detachable belly tanks the range can be increased from 850 to 1,150 miles,
depending on the size of the tanks. Both have a maximum ceiling of 33,000 feet.
Both are armed with one 20-mm. cannon in each wing, with about 60 rounds of
ammunition per cannon, and two 7.7-mm. recoil-operated guns, synchronized to
fire through the propeller, with 500 rounds per gun. None of these fighters of
either type has been reported as having any armor or being equipped with leak-proof
Of the two, the Mitsubishi-Nagoya is heavier, more powerful, and faster,
with a reported maximum speed of 344 miles per hour as against 298 miles per
hour for the Mitsubishi "stubby type".
Light Bomber--Single Engine:
The Mitsubishi 98 is being used extensively as a light bomber.
It is a low-wing monoplane powered with 2 twin-row 14-cylinder radial
air-cooled engines. It has a wing spread of 46 feet and the latest models are
equipped with retractable landing gear. The speed varies from 200 to 250 miles
per hour with a range of 500 to 800 miles depending on the load. This light
bomber carries a crew of two and 790 pounds of bombs and is armed with three
7.7-mm. machine guns.
Single-Engine Dive Bomber:
The Aichi 99 is in regular use by both the Army and Navy. It is a low-wing
monoplane, having a wing spread of 47 feet, and a non-retractable landing
gear. The speed varies from 204 to 256 miles per hour, with a range of 450 to
1,300 miles, the greater distance being obtained by means of a detachable belly
tank. The armament consists of 2 fixed 7.7-mm. machine guns and one flexible
machine gun of the same caliber; its full bomb load is 1,100 pounds.
This dive bomber is equipped with floatation gear when operating from
carriers. Its crew consists of a pilot, and a gunner who can also serve as
co-pilot and radio operator.
A newer version of the Mitsubishi T-96, known as the Zero medium
bomber, has been reported in use by the Japanese Navy. It is a monoplane with
two radial air-cooled engines and has a retractable landing gear.
Although full specifications and performance data of this bomber are not
yet available, its speed is reported to be about 270 miles per hour, with a
maximum ceiling of 26,000 feet, and normal cruising range of 1,560 miles.
It is equipped to carry one 1,500-pound torpedo or equivalent weight in
bombs. Another special characteristic is a tail turret equipped with one 20-mm.
cannon. The T-96 carries a crew of two, and its armament, in addition to the
cannon, consists of four 7.7-mm. machine guns.
Heavy Bomber--Twin Engine:
The Kawasaki 97 land-based army bomber is being currently used over
China and India. This bomber is powered with either two twin-row radial
air-cooled engines, or with two liquid-cooled engines. It is a mid-wing monoplane,
and has a retractable landing gear, twin rudders, and a wing spread of 72 feet.
The speed ranges from 185 to 230 miles per hour; the rate of climb has been
reported as being 3,281 feet in 2.11 minutes, and the maximum ceiling with a
normal load is 24,500 feet.
With 4,400 pounds of bombs the range of this bomber is 1,180 miles at
181 miles per hour for 6 1/2 hours. With 2,000 pounds of bombs the range is
increased to 10 hours or about 1,800 miles. The armament consists of
four 7.7-mm. machine guns and two 20-mm. cannons. It generally carries a crew of five.
This bomber is reported to be well equipped with radio, oxygen, and self-sealing
tanks, together with some armor and bullet-proof glass.